Research & Training

CFS Research and Training Activities by Topic

School Success

A Close Inspection of the Academic Language Used by K-3 Students

This project involved collaboration with Northern Arizona University to investigate the distinct vocabulary and grammatical features that students with above- and below-average oral language abilities use. Academic language is the malleable factor as it can be improved upon through instruction and is associated with later achievement in reading and writing. The findings will provide critical information to develop interventions to improve academic language for early elementary school students. The Academic Language of Primary Students (ALPS) research team collected nearly 9000 narrative and expository language samples from 1037 K-3 students. The samples have been analyzed using several different coding strategies and the PIs are currently working on their dissemination plan including conference presentations, peer reviewed manuscripts, and educator-friendly academic language guidance documents. Moreover, the samples will be transferred to an open access repository so they can be  used by other researchers in the coming years.

Contact: Trina Spencer, PhD
Funder: U.S. Department of Education

Development and Pilot Testing of Modular-based Consultation using Evidence-Based Practices for Teachers of Students with Emotional Disturbance (MOTIVATED)

This project involves developing and testing a modular approach for use by elementary teachers who deliver instruction in self-contained classrooms that include students with emotional and behavioral disorders. The modules are comprised of evidence-based practices that teachers can select and customize to fit the needs of their classrooms. Project coaches collaborate with teachers to ensure improvements in class-wide student behavior. 

Contact: Kimberly Crosland, PhD
Funder: U. S. Department of Education

Development of Math and Science Domains of the School Readiness Curriculum Based Measurement (SRCBM) System

This project involves the development and validation of English and Spanish tests of young children’s language, literacy, math and science achievement. Teacher-administered screening and progress monitoring forms in combination with associated diagnostic assessments form a seamless assessment system for children in Preschool, prekindergarten, and kindergarten. SRCBM supports universal screening, universal benchmarking, and more frequent progress monitoring with the aim of supporting educators plan targeted instruction.

Contact: Jason Anthony, PhD
Funder: U. S. Department of Education

Effect of Bilingual vs Monolingual Methods of Explicit English Vocabulary Instruction on 4th Grade Spanish-Speaking English Learners (EL): Exploring Accuracy, Retention, and Transfer of Learning

This study compares the effectiveness of mixed-language (English and Spanish) vs single language (English) vocabulary instruction in promoting learning of English words by 4th grade Spanish speaking children who are learning English. Students receive 6 weeks of vocabulary instruction twice a week via remote instruction (using Microsoft Teams) with USF instructors. Students learn 60 academic words that are taught via 6 units about the Florida Everglades. There is reason to believe that instruction that incorporates Spanish definitions in teaching academic English words may benefit Spanish-speaking children who are learning English as a second language. Results of this research are expected to help design more effective curricular materials for English learners.

Contact: Maria Carlo, PhD
Funder: U. S. Department of Education

Effects of Home and Classroom Practices on Language, Cognitive, and Social Development of Young Spanish-Speaking Dual Language Learners

English learners living in poverty are at risk for later reading difficulties and are less likely than their peers to encounter the level of responsive, extended conversations in their homes and preschools needed for school readiness. Furthermore, many types of dual language programs in U.S. schools operate in ways that delay regular exposure to English until later grades, rather than systematically teaching in ways that build on students’ knowledge of their home language to accelerate English proficiency. USF is collaborating on this project to evaluate a dual-language approach that: a) maintains and improves the home language of English learners who speak mostly Spanish in their homes via parent coaching, and b) simultaneously coaches teachers to use an explicit cross-language transfer approach in which sophisticated concepts are introduced in Spanish before English. Expected findings are increased understanding of effective classroom instruction and family engagement approaches for English learners at risk of later reading difficulties.

Contact: Maria Carlo, PhD
Funder: University of Texas Health Sciences Center/U. S. 
Department of Education